Karnataka

‘BJP government deliberately buying power from private producers in Karnataka in return for kickbacks’

Turbines at a wind farm in Hubballi, Karnataka. KPCC spokesperson Lakshmana alleged that a few State-run electricity generating units in Karnataka have stopped production.

Turbines at a wind farm in Hubballi, Karnataka. KPCC spokesperson Lakshmana alleged that a few State-run electricity generating units in Karnataka have stopped production. | Photo Credit: Bloomberg

The Congress party accused the BJP government in Karnataka of deliberately reducing production of electricity in its power plants to facilitate ‘corruption’ through power purchase from private producers.

Addressing a media conference in Mysuru, KPCC spokesperson Lakshmana said Karnataka is producing only 6,708 MW of power though the installed capacity is 14,574 MW. With the demand for power amounting to 9,451 MW, the State Government is making up for the shortage by purchasing power from other States and the Centre, besides private producers like the Adani Group.

Though the Centre quotes ₹4.80 per unit, the State Government prefers to purchase power from private producers paying ₹6.8 per unit, thereby incurring an additional expenditure of around ₹11,000 crore per annum, he alleged.

“The obvious reason is the kickbacks,” Mr. Lakshmana alleged, with the amount involved being over ₹5,500 crore.

In a letter to Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai, Mr. Lakshmana sought a detailed inquiry into the scam and urged the government to spell out the reasons for its refusal to end the power purchase agreements with various private entities even though the State has surplus un-utilised power generating capacity. Karnataka has paid around ₹25,000 crore to various electricity generating companies during the last 30 months, he claimed.

“If this continues, Karnataka would lose ₹44,000 crore over the next four years,” Mr. Lakshmana said citing a letter written by Karnataka Power Corporation Limited (KPCL) Managing Director and IAS officer V. Ponnuraj to the Additional Chief Secretary on October 14, 2020.

Mr. Lakshmana said a few electricity generating units of Karnataka have stopped production. For instance, the Raichur Thermal Power Plant has eight units out of which five are idle. “This is because of the kickbacks when power is purchased from private producers,” he alleged adding that the portfolio was with B.S. Yediyurappa when he was the Chief Minister and is presently held by V. Sunil Kumar.

The reason cited by Karnataka for revising power tariff, including the last one earlier this week, was the increase in cost of purchase of power. He said the Congress party is planning a massive campaign against the BJP government, which has been ‘looting public money’ and repeatedly raising the power tariff.


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Printable version | Jun 26, 2022 12:01:48 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/bjp-government-deliberately-buying-power-from-private-producers-in-karnataka-in-return-for-kickbacks/article65302651.ece